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Doctor Assisted Suicide Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

The traditional practice of sustaining life by doctors and medical practitioners has recently been in question by Canadian parliament and media. Although the health care system in the United States differs, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act has demonstrated success in maintaining regulations in the practice and has been reviewed by other institutions. (Haigh). Therefore, similar legislation should be introduced in Canada, allowing physician-assisted suicide, a form of euthanasia. The legalization of a similar act would improve the quality of life of terminally ill patients, preserve tissues for organ donation and follow the ethical practices of doctors in deciding treatments.
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Additional to relieving the suffering associated with degenerative or terminal diseases or conditions, physician-assisted suicide has the ability to prevent the degradation of vital organs, therefore contributing to organ and tissue donation. The importance of organ donation is demonstrated by the ability to save lives in the instance of fatal organ failure and additionally by eliminating expensive treatments associated with progressive organ failures. The cost of kidney dialysis is approximately $60, 000 annually, whereas receiving an organ donation is an approximately an individual payment of $23, 000 (Organ Donation). Tissues and organs of terminal patients are still eligible for donation, if the disease has not manifested in the indicated region. Therefore by legalizing physician-assisted suicide, organs and tissues can be harvested from voluntary donors, before damage occurs. A paper published by The University Hospitals, Leuven indicates that donations from euthanized patients would significantly increase the number of donors (Symons). There is a large demand for organ donation, as more than 89,000 American patients require an organ transplant, however limited donations result in the death of 17 patients daily (Kidney Foundation).
The ability of patients to make decisions in their health treatments is a component of modern medical ethics (Egan). Therefore the ethics that define the practice indicates that a doctor must consider requests made by patients.
Furthermore, due to the controversial nature of such legislation, strict criteria would be implemented to regulate practices. As seen with the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, many concerns and oppositions with the act and its implications are addressed. A major argument against legalizing physician-assisted suicide is an increased vulnerability of vulnerable groups to seek such treatment, including the elderly and mentally ill or disabled. However the Death with Dignity Act outlines a mandatory procedure to be preformed by physician or healthcare providers. The procedure states that:
The attending physician and consulting physician must confirm the patient’s diagnosis and prognosis. The attending physician and a consulting physician must determine whether the patient is capable of making and communicating healthcare decisions for him or herself. If either physician believes the patient's judgment is impaired by a psychiatric or psychological disorder (such as depression), the patient must be referred for a psychological examination (Haigh).
Persecution of the practice can occur in the case of outside influences on the decision of suicide. Therefore these guidelines prevent involuntary requests, and...

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